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Corbyn & the anti-semitism question

by W. Stephen Gilbert

It’s more than time to try to unpick the shemozzl of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party 1. Self-harming is ever Labour’s favourite activity, and those MPs determined to keep the row going have lost sight of the danger that what they wish for will hurt them more, that unseating Jeremy Corbyn will cost some of them their own seats and condemn us to Tory rule for the forseeable future. It is essential to get this thing back into perspective and to halt the misinformation over the issue both current and retrospective.

It seems to me that there are five propositions on the table, four of which are simply not sustainable. They are: 1) anti-Semitism is rife throughout the Labour Party; 2) the left is innately anti-Semitic; 3) Jeremy Corbyn is complicit in anti-Semitism or at best complaisant in face of its incidence; 4) this controversy has been whipped up now in order to damage Corbyn; 5) charges of anti-Semitism in the party are wholly fabricated.

Propositions 1) and 5) are mutually exclusive and, I submit, both untrue. The last is foolish and insensitive but needs to be put into focus. Anti-Semitism is never acceptable, any more than any other stance along a continuum from discrimination through irrational fear of difference to prejudice and hatred. The present tummel may make some agnostic voters imagine that anti-Semitism is peculiar to Labour. It is not. Other parties will be whispering to themselves “there but for the bias of the media go we”. None of this means that Labour have no job to do. But using Trumpian rhetoric such as “draining the swamp” is absurd.

There are people prone to ignorance in every organisation, every community, every gathering. This is not to say that Labour are exonerated simply because they are not the only tainted party. Two wrongs do not make a right, however often Theresa May seems to say they do in defence of her government’s policies at Prime Minister’s Questions. But the malicious propaganda persists that Labour are uniquely culpable.

Nevertheless, Labour are not immune and those of us who long to see Labour form the next government must be concerned that the party is the most welcoming and tolerant of organisations and that it is heartfelt and sedulous in making certain that this will always be the case.

After all, there are other damaging threads in the party. There is racism – much of the abuse heaped upon Diane Abbott is overtly or covertly racist, not to mention sexist and misogynistic. There is homophobia, some of it intentional, some merely thoughtless. In setting up against Angela Eagle for the function of challenging Corbyn’s leadership two years ago, Owen Smith mentioned his “normal family”, a swat against Eagle’s same-sex relationship. There is insensitivity to both old and young and to those with disabilities and different values, both cultural and spiritual. Common to all is enmity, hostility and abuse.

To those matters I will return later.

The kicking-off point for this springtime bloodletting was a mural painted in Hanbury Street, Tower Hamlets in 2012 by Kalen Ockerman, an American street artist calling himself Mear One.

the allegedly anti-semitic mural

Ockerman is a committed Socialist whose work is habitually political. He gave an account of this particular piece on his Facebook status at the time: “I came to paint a mural that depicted the elite banker cartel known as the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Morgans, the ruling class elite few, the Wizards of Oz. They would be playing a board game of monopoly on the backs of the working class. The symbol of the Freemason Pyramid rises behind this group and behind that is a polluted world of coal burning and nuclear reactors. I was creating this piece to inspire critical thought and spark conversation”.

As a matter of record, only the Rothschilds and the Warburgs (also depicted) were Jewish; the others (including also Andrew Carnegie) were not. Aleister Crowley, goyish Satanist rather than banker, is also there. Those assuming that all of those depicted were Jewish may have been influenced by prejudices they themselves brought to the viewing of the mural. Ockerman’s intent was to arraign capitalists, not Jews. That there was a Jewish element was incidental. Moreover, Freemasonry is emphatically not a Jewish movement. Ockerman took his depiction of the Pyramid from the US dollar bill.

Responding to present comments, he says “to conflate my anti-capitalist message with anti-Semitic rhetoric, as the UK politicians and their MSM puppets have so adeptly accomplished, is very ill-intended and manipulative” [see Mear One status on Facebook].

The mural was painted over in 2012 on the orders of the Tower Hamlets mayor, Lutfur Rahman, who was later found guilty of “corrupt or illegal practices or both” and barred from office. At the time of the suppression, Jeremy Corbyn tweeted his support for the artist. As he has opposed censorship all his political life, it should surprise no one that he instinctively took this stance. It may have been a kneejerk reaction, but we all are guilty of those.

It seems likely that he did so without seeing the work in the flesh, as it were. It’s a pity that he has felt it necessary to concede “regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic”3 because his hindsight account of the contents is, as I’ve noted, erroneous.

This is a statement more concerned with damage limitation than objectivity, but it rebounds on Corbyn more than it puts salve on the wound.

We have been here before. I regret revisiting old news but those who wish to damage Labour find doing so a useful technique because it’s easy to transform a past issue into a false legend. So the case of Naz Shah is now cited as ‘evidence’ of a history of anti-Semitism in Corbyn’s Labour Party – indeed The World at One persuaded Shah to submit herself to re-examination4 .

Shah was the subject of an early attempt to destabilise Corbyn’s leadership through the issue of anti-Semitism, derived from the office of Lynton Crosby just ten days before the local elections in the spring of 2016. Crosby was David Cameron’s propaganda chief, knighted for his services. At some point, Crosby’s office unearthed a series of tweets posted in 2014 by Shah, a Moslem who sits for Labour for the Bradford West constituency, having gained it in May 2015 from George Galloway of the Respect Party, and who, since February 2016, had served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell.

Crosby’s office passed the tweets to Paul Staines, whose blog under the name Guido Fawkes exists to damage Labour. Staines made a story of them, a media broigus5 ensued and Shah was held to typify the anti-Semitism that his enemies were already claiming characterised Corbyn’s take-over of Labour. At the time, she was a member of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee but recused herself from its report on anti-Semitism in the UK6 . She is not, by the way, a Corbyn supporter; her candidacy had been imposed on Bradford West by Labour HQ in Ed Miliband’s time.

The Fawkes story revisited Shah’s tweets. The first was a graphic that imagines (but does not advocate, as widely characterised) Israel relocated to the American mid-west.

Naz Shah did not dream this up herself. She took it from the blog of an American academic, Norman Finkelstein. As you may surmise from his name, Professor Finkelstein is Jewish, the son of two Shoah survivors. In collaboration with a Palestinian scholar, Finkelstein was at that time preparing a book entitled How to Solve the Israel-Palestine Conflict, his twelfth on the subject. He made the graphic to illustrate the size of Israel relative to the States and did so in a jocular spirit, without exciting noticeable condemnation either in the States or elsewhere. This provenance casts a rather different light on Shah’s use of the map. The Guido Fawkes weblog did not disclose the background of the graphic and nor did the Home Affairs Committee in its report on anti-Semitism.

The second tweet illustrated in the Fawkes blog says this: “URGENT ACTION – WILL TAKE TEN SECONDS” and then reproduces a link to the Mirror newspaper, which includes the words “John Prescott Israels Bombardment”. The tweet goes on: “The Jews are rallying to the poll at the bottom and there is now 87% disagreeing and 13% agreeing. CLICK ‘YES I AGREE WITH JOHN PRESCOTT THAT ISRAEL IS COMMITTING WAR CRIMES’. FORWARD ON TO ALL CONTACTS RIGHT NOW” [Shah’s caps].

A third tweet, under the hashtag #APARTHEIDISRAEL, has a police ID photograph and, beneath it, the words “NEVER FORGET THAT EVERYTHING HITLER DID IN GERMANY WAS LEGAL”. These words may be read in differing ways. Taken neutrally, they simply state an objective fact. In another context, they might be swung to suggest approval of what Hitler did. I suggest that the quotation’s origins carry no hint of the latter. The words were spoken by none less than Dr Martin Luther King, who is the subject of the reproduced police photograph.

The Home Affairs Committee Report didn’t explain or explore these aspects of the tweets. It merely stated, with shameful lack of grammar: “Of equal concern as the contents of these three posts is the fact that nobody who reacted on Facebook appears to have objected to or questioned them” (evidently the Committee cannot tell Twitter from Facebook). Well, I wish to put on record that I both object to and question the Committee’s implication that Lord Prescott is – and Dr King was – anti-Semitic. Moreover, I am very surprised that nobody (apparently) has reacted anywhere to these absurd suggestions, let alone on Twitter or Facebook. I should have thought Prescott would be incandescent.

Like the graphic, Shah’s other tweets were of other people’s observations. In July 2014, she retweeted: “Hamas: We are a legitimate resistance movement”. That December, she retweeted: “‘Hamas should be removed from terror list’ – EU court ruling”. You may wonder how these sentiments come to be specifically accounted anti-Semitic. Hamas is the democratically elected government in Gaza. Like the Netanyahu government in Israel, it rejects a two-state solution. In both Israel and the territories that presently make up Palestine, a two-state solution was favoured in opinion polls until January this year. Present hostilities may well have eroded support further.

Paul Staines wrote on Guido Fawkes: “Hamas is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK”. This is simply not true. Unlike the US and the EU (whose court ruling was later overturned), the UK government do not deem Hamas itself a terrorist organisation. Only its military wing, Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades, is on the proscribed list. Pretending to make no distinction between Hamas and guerrillas who proceed under its banner is a stance taken by many of those people who did the same with Sinn Féin and the Provisional IRA. Incidentally, there are two small, ultranationalist Israeli organisations, Kach and Kahane Chai, that are not proscribed as terrorist in the UK but are so listed in the US and the EU and indeed in Israel itself. According to the Haaretz newspaper, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Defence Minister and former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, was at one time a member of Kach 7.

Naz Shah stood down from her PPS post and was then suspended by the Party. Subsequently she disowned her tweets and was reinstated. To my mind, she was naïve in three distinct ways: she failed to see that her retweets might be used as ammunition by Labour’s enemies, she neglected to explain the respectable sources of her retweets and she allowed herself to be bullied into apology and confession. This last failing helped to condemn Ken Livingstone, whose gallant intervention in the row was precisely to defend Shah against the distorted account of her tweets. However, the former London mayor is old enough to know what he’s doing and stubborn enough to go on defying the critics he must have known he would stir up. Like Christine Shawcroft and her evident defence of highly questionable material, he has shown himself at the very least insensitive to easily bruised feelings and oblivious of the danger of further harming Labour.

Meanwhile, Lynton Crosby’s Machiavellian manipulation of the media and of grateful anti-Corbyn Labour MPs duly prevented the party progressing quite as much as it might have hoped in the local elections, especially in seats where there was a strong Jewish presence. Thereafter his tactics were duly endorsed by the cross-party House Committee that included the Labour backbenchers David Winnick and Chuka Umunna and the Scottish Nationalist Stuart McDonald. After writing about the traducing of Naz Shah in the spring of 2016, I warned thus: “Labour and its true supporters need to be better prepared for the next stroke that Crosby pulls. Watch out for Corbyn being set up for the blame if the country votes to leave the EU”. QED.

So to the slur that Socialists are innately anti-Semitic. The Valhalla of the left is full of Jews – Rosa Luxemburg, Ernst Bloch, Eric Hobsbawm, Harold Laski, Noam Chomsky, Joe Slovo, Natalia Ginzburg … not to mention that most enduring hate figure for Social Democrats, Leon Trotsky, and indeed Karl Marx himself8. Jews are deeply bound into the development of Socialist thought.

Here is a statement that underlines this relationship: “The Jewish Socialists’ Group expresses its serious concern at the rise of anti-Semitism, especially under extreme right wing governments in central and Eastern Europe, in America under Donald Trump’s presidency and here in Britain under Theresa May’s premiership. The recent extensive survey by the highly respected Jewish Policy Research confirmed that the main repository of anti-Semitic views in Britain is among supporters of the Conservative Party and UKIP. This political context, alongside declining support for the Tories, reveals the malicious intent behind the latest flimsy accusations of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. These accusations have come from the unrepresentative Board of Deputies and the unelected, self-proclaimed ‘Jewish Leadership Council’, two bodies dominated by supporters of the Tory Party”9 .

The left have also been blackguarded over the Nazis and Shoah. Ken Livingstone’s gloss on Hitler’s attitude to the mooted creation of Israel, while impossible to categorise seriously as in itself anti-Semitic, is certainly debatable. But worse assaults have been made on the left, including accusations of Holocaust denial. This vile crime is not to be found on the left of politics. Of the 18 British Holocaust deniers identified on Wikipedia, all but four are actively placed on the far right. The exceptions are Michèle Renouf, who appears to have just the one interest; Richard Williamson, a dissenting Catholic bishop; Nicholas Kollerstrom, a serial conspiracy theorist; and David Icke, a notorious crank and espouser of multiple marginal causes. Both Kollerstrom and Icke are former members of the Green Party – perhaps someone would like to set going a major scandal about that party’s links with anti-Semitism. And let’s just recall that leftists perished in their thousands alongside Jews in the concentration camps.

To be the victim of hatred and bigotry is frightening, painful and demoralising; so too is being accused falsely and unjustly of hatred and bigotry. Those casting accusations like to dismiss their victims as being “in denial”. In Anna Freud’s meaning, the phrase has a particular and useful application. In popular usage, it is a crude rhetorical point, pre-empting the natural response to an unjust accusation: “no, I’m not”.

Another rhetorical device is the increasingly common parlaying of tempered criticism or respectfully phrased opposition into hate speech by the recipient, in the manner of someone greatly exaggerating his woes in order to elicit sympathy. This is not to say that modern political exchanges are conducted with punctilious courtesy. Far from it. The rise of social media has opened the floodgates for millions of people who, in an earlier era, would have written nothing from one month’s end to the next, there then being few platforms for doing so: letters to the press were filleted by editors; diaries and commonplace books were not seen outside the home; correspondence with friends and family was a chore, left behind with Victorian maiden aunts. Now everyone clatters on keyboards at every opportunity, and, on social media, the illusion of the absence of libel, the apparent lack of consequence and the option, if chosen, to defame and denigrate under cover of anonymity all encourage heedless outpourings that would shame a bar-room blowhard.

Everyone who uses social media knows that abuse and even menaces are a constant part of the landscape, and no single political position is peculiarly affected by it. In 2016, a number of Labour’s women MPs launched an investigation of so-called trolling under the title ‘Reclaim the Internet’10 . Anyone can support such an enterprise, until it is used as a stick with which to beat Corbyn. Then it becomes a partisan exercise and is mere propaganda. So Corbyn is told he should take ownership of the online abuse and the implication is spread that Corbyn somehow encourages the trolling through his supporters such as the group founded by the Jewish Jon Lansman, Momentum.

Carole Malone in The Mirror accused “thugs acting in Corbyn’s name” of making death threats to Angela Eagle and to her fellow MP Luciana Berger 11. Berger promptly responded in a tweet that “the man who sent me those messages has nothing to do with @uklabour”, but Malone issued no correction. The hate that columnists like Malone loudly deplore instead fuels their own carelessly damaging prose.

This all makes for unbridgeable enmity. Jess Phillips MP handed 96 pages of what she said was online abuse against her to the Labour Party. She did not indicate any discernible pattern, either by date or origin, but her belief that her anti-Corbyn activities make her a target is clear12 . Phillips’ senior colleague Yvette Cooper proposed “a new online code of conduct, so where there is serious abuse, intimidation or harassment online, members face expulsion from the Party. As leader, Jeremy Corbyn should have done this himself instead of just warm words”13 .

The implication is that Corbyn-supporting members are responsible and Corbyn is complicit. When Phillips then ‘threatens’ to stand down as an MP if Corbyn is re-elected, the pincer movement is complete (she has yet to carry out her ‘threat’, but she does make it most months and then evidently finds another complaint that requires her to stay in the House).

No Labour MP found it in herself to object to the headline seen by hundreds of thousands over another Corbyn assault by Labour Party member Dan Hodges in The Mail on Sunday: “Labour MUST kill vampire Jezza”, this just ten days after the horrific murder of the Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox, thus marking a new low in tabloid propriety 14. You can bet that anyone tweeting “Labour MUST kill harpy Jess” would have been promptly expelled from the party and excoriated in the Daily Mail.

Needless to say, Corbyn regularly receives death threats. But I suspect he takes the view articulated by the television judge, Robert Rinder: “My Twitter feed is one of the ugliest things in the world. But I absolutely don’t care. The fact that people sit up all night chain-smoking and saying nasty things online is not a big problem for me … All they want is some attention. When you see someone has said something nasty about you, it’s important to remember it’s really about them”15 .

The House Committee Report took the same line about Corbyn that had been peddled by his enemies in the party and by the media: that he needed to do more to prevent online abuse. None of them offered any clue as to what he should do. As early as his first leadership campaign, he advocated “a kinder politics”. He never resorts to ad hominem remarks, even though the open scorn and insults he is subjected to from his own backbenchers are unprecedented since the time of Fox and Pitt.

Even his most deep-dyed foes concede that he is always courteous, respectful and civil. He regularly condemns online abuse. He cannot force people to be good; not even the Pope, not even Nelson Mandela could do that. Is he to go from house to house pleading with people to be nice? He made the constructive gesture of having talks about controls of posting and tweeting with representatives of Facebook and Twitter. But given that he has no responsibility, indirect let alone direct, for the abuse that inadequate people perpetrate, he need not have made the gesture. The Home Secretary at the time (one Theresa May) should have been the one to do it.

Momentum is constantly supposed to be the author of bullying and abuse. Curiously enough, an analysis of MPs’ Twitter feeds found that no Corbyn supporter registered in the ‘Top Ten’ for foul language and abuse, but that six habitual critics of Corbyn did: Jamie Reed, Michael Dugher (first and second respectively), the aforementioned Jess Phillips, Karl Turner, John Woodcock and Lilian Greenwood16 . The outcry has hardly been deafening.

But the abuse of Corbyn goes on, noted online if not by the MSM. When a member of the Upper House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom stoops so low as to relate the Leader of the Opposition to Adolf Hitler, it is clear that there is a problem with political discourse that concerns everyone.

How can anyone police and punish such a widespread spectrum of strife?

The calumny that Momentum is a bunch of bully boys who mean Labour harm has gained traction as the press have taken up this characterisation from those Labour MPs who certainly mean Corbyn harm. Anyone who attends a meeting of a branch of Momentum habitually mingles with a group of friendly, courteous and thoughtful people, most of them over 50, who would hesitate to say boo to a goose. Propaganda frequently distorts reality grotesquely.

There have been several television ‘exposés’ of Momentum meetings – it isn’t explained how a camera at an open meeting constitutes an exposé – and in practice they never live up to the advertised outrage. Much more interesting would be to see undercover coverage of, say, a meeting of Progress, the outfit whose raison d’être is to bring down Corbyn, but no broadcaster wishes to embarrass this interest.

Again and again, the charge is made that Momentum is a front for Trotskyist thugs and that Corbyn is not doing enough about the enmity, hostility and abuse that is said to emanate from this source. Everyone else thinks of little else. Elevated to the party’s National Executive Committee through the resignation of Shawcroft, Eddie Izzard declared: “I’ve campaigned against hate my whole life and will continue to do so wherever it rears its ugly head” 17. If he thinks that is somehow more than Corbyn has said, he’s greatly mistaken.

But some still speak up for him. Here is London-based journalist Joseph Finlay: “Jeremy Corbyn is one of the leading anti-racists in parliament – I would go so far to say that he is one of the least racist MPs we have. So naturally Corbyn signed numerous Early Day motions in Parliament condemning anti-Semitism, years before he became leader and backed the campaign to stop Neo-Nazis from meeting in Golders Green in 2015.

“Because all racisms are interlinked it is worth examining Corbyn’s wider anti-racist record. Corbyn was being arrested for protesting against apartheid while the Thatcher government defended white majority rule and branded Nelson Mandela a terrorist. Corbyn was a strong supporter of Labour Black Sections – championing the right of Black and Asian people to organise independently in the Labour party while the Press demonised them as extremists. He has long been one of the leaders of the campaign to allow the indigenous people of the Chagos Islands to return after they were forcibly evicted by Britain in the 1960s to make way for an American military base.

“Whenever there has been a protest against racism, the two people you can always guarantee will be there are Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Who do you put your trust in — the people who hate anti-Semitism because they hate all racism or the people (be they in the Conservative party or the press) who praise Jews whilst engaging in Islamophobia and anti-black racism? The right-wing proponents of the Labour anti-Semitism narrative seek to divide us into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ minorities — they do not have the well being of Jews at heart”. This was an article for no less than The Times of Israel18 .

But because he is deemed not to have done sufficient, Corbyn is found to be complicit in that abuse, whether it be against Jews or women or anyone and everyone else. So a know-nothing pisher 19 is picked out at the Palace of Westminster demo by the BBC news camera, chanting “o-o-oh Jeremy’s a racist” 20.

What you look for in vain is any suggestion as to what more he is supposed to do about prejudice and abuse. After all, the most powerful players in social media are quite incapable of policing the posts and tweets and blogs of their own users. How can Corbyn halt the anonymous abuse, the perpetrators of which are said to run into thousands?

If not the Internet, another medium for discipline is the Labour Party itself. The Party is not Corbyn’s personal fiefdom. It has a long-standing bureaucracy, it has unwieldy structures designed to preserve that awkward ideal, democracy, and it is expected to subscribe to the view that allegations must be proved and defendants found guilty before reparation is extracted. Under the recently retired Iain McNicol as General Secretary of the party, a great many sanctions were handed down against people alleged to have fallen foul of Labour’s membership policy. Many of those sanctions were widely denounced as unjust, designed to try to reduce the votes in favour of Jeremy Corbyn when he was challenged for the leadership by Owen Smith. There is a vast backlog of unfinished business.

Nevertheless, with great reluctance, I have come to the conclusion that Jeremy Corbyn’s critics are right, that he has indeed been complaisant, permitting for far too long behaviour that damages the Labour Party. Henceforth anyone who, like Owen Smith, breaches collective shadow cabinet responsibility should have the whip withdrawn as well as being removed from office. All those who routinely attack the leadership or who join with groups from outside the party a demonstration against the leadership, especially in a pre-election period, should be subject to de-selection as candidates. It is time to impose discipline on a parliamentary party that is turning into a rabble.

Consider the case of the Ilford North MP, West Streeting, an active member of Progress. A year ago, Streeting was braced to lose his seat where his majority was just 589. No doubt on the doorsteps he was putting as much space between his own stance and that of his leader as possible. Yet thanks to Corbyn’s extraordinary performance in the election campaign and a manifesto that Streeting must have been almost wholly out of sympathy with, he was returned with a majority approaching 10,000 against a Tory opponent, the former MP, who is Jewish.

Instead of demonstrating his gratitude, Streeting addressed the crowd at the demonstration outside the Palace of Westminster that protested the supposed anti-Semitism problem in the party. Ilford North’s Jewish community is the third largest in Britain. Given the choice between nailing the lie about Labour being wracked with anti-Semitism under Corbyn and subscribing to it, Streeting took the road more likely to re-elect his Tory opponent at the next election.

It may be that the people who regularly call for Corbyn to “crack down on” his own supporters, unidentifiable though most of them are, are not in favour of his cracking down on known backbenchers like Phillips, Ian Austin and John Mann who daily scorn everything that Corbyn stands for. Well, as many like to quote from Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines” 21. And we certainly shouldn’t expect Corbyn’s critics to be possessed of little minds.

One reason why some Jewish interests oppose Corbyn is that he is unafraid to criticise the government in Jerusalem and supports Palestinian self-determination. The left’s support for Palestine is of a piece with its time-honoured support for self-determination everywhere in the world. But criticism of the government in Israel by outsiders is readily parlayed into anti-Semitism, much in the way that Republicans habitually characterise criticism of presidents of their persuasion as ‘anti-American’, yet bend every sinew to bring down Democratic Party presidents.

This is not a British tradition. I have never heard a Tory declare criticism of Theresa May or David Cameron or their predecessors to be ‘anti-British’. It may be the language of UKIP and other English nationalist factions, just as some nationalist supporters of Israel deem all criticism to be prejudice.

But if you want to hear truly ferocious criticism of Netanyahu, go to Israel. Anyone who has travelled in that country knows that Israelis delight in being called the most argumentative people in the world. In a room of ten Israelis, you would expect to find at least thirty conflicting viewpoints. What you never hear is an Israeli accusing another Israeli of being anti-Semitic. Israel has a rather more healthy political culture than we do, despite the fact that they do nothing but kvetch 22.

Can we look to the media to haul this fraught issue back onto an even keel? Of course not. Philip Spencer contributed a somewhat confusing conspectus of the history of Jews and the left to The Observer under the headline “The shame of anti-Semitism on the left has a long, malign history” 23. It says a lot about the spin being put on this whole issue by Guardian Media Group that neither of the words ‘shame’ and ‘malign’ appears in Professor Spencer’s article.

It may be after all that we have to accept that the right of the Labour are really so determined that Corbyn not become prime minister that they would even rather see Jacob Rees-Mogg assume that role, that they would prefer to lose their own seats and retire into directorships of pharmaceutical companies. From their viewpoint, after all, it may be more attractive than the perpetual warfare that will certainly break out the day Corbyn enters Number 10. However you look at it, it will probably turn out to be mechuleh .

W Stephen Gilbert is the author of Jeremy Corbyn – Accidental Hero [Eyewear 2015; 2nd edition 2016]

NOTES

1) Leo Rosten’s indispensible The Joys of Yiddish [WH Allen 1970] says that shemozzl means “an uproar, a fight, a confusion, a ‘rhubarb’” though it is “not Yiddish, and not Yinglish, but slang used by our cousins in England and Ireland”

2) “Noise, commotion, noisy disorder” [ibid]

3) March 23rd 2018

4) Radio 4, March 30th

5) “A bitter dispute or feud” [Oxford English Dictionary; not in Rosten]

6) Published October 14th 2016

7) February 4th 2009

8) Marx of course was non-practising. He wrote acutely about pluralism in ‘On the Jewish Question’ [1844]

9) Jewish Socialists’ Group website [March 26th]

10) the feminist campaign of the 1970s, ‘Reclaim the Night’

11) July 16th 2016

12) Huffington Post [July 18th 2016]

13) Article by Cooper Huffington Post [July 18th 2016]

14) The Mail on Sunday [June 26th 2016]. Somebody at the paper must have had second thoughts about the headline,
for the online version changed the word “kill” to “dump”

15) Daily Star [May 15th 2016]

16) Report, MailOnline [January 13th 2017]. Reed precipitated the 2017 by-election in Copeland by taking a job at Sellafield. Michael Dugher was relieved of his post as Shadow Culture Secretary, for which he was singularly ill-fitted, in January 2016 for serial abuse of the leadership

17) April 1st

18) It’s worth reading the whole article at http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/jeremy-corbyn-is-an-anti-racist-not-an-antisemite/ March 26th.

19) “A young squirt … a nobody” [Rosten op cit]

20) March 29th BBC News at 6, BBC1

21) Self Reliance [1841]

22) “fret, complain, gripe, grunt, sigh” [Rosten op cit]

23) April 1st – perhaps it was the paper’s idea of an All Fools’ Day joke


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58 Comments

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  2. mog says

    Recently read two books by Gilad Atzmon, who I recommend to anyone who is (a) opposed to racist politics; (b) wants to read someone who has thought deeply about the politics of Jewish identity (especially how it relates to the Left).
    Exceptionalism, tribalism, ethnocentric identification – these things stand fundamentally at odds with the Universalism of the Left. This is the problem, and it is taboo.
    To paraphrase Atzmon : ‘We need to get back to drawing from the thinking of Athens and away from that of Jerusalem’.
    The Labour Party needs to get back to Athens.

  3. I enjoyed reading this article and have reflected on both it and the comments. I remember the Marc Wadsworth incident at the launch of the Chakrabarti report and have quietly observed the likes of Politics Home and Portland communications pouring on troubled waters where ever the opportunity suggested.
    I was moved to comment on a post that appeared in my Twitter Feed it struck me that the target of the accusation of Anti Semitism seemed to me to be a victim of racism rather than being anti-semitic.

    I put together a couple of Blogs as sketches and will be working up the episode as a chapter in my Satirical Novel The Conquest of Dough.

    #LabourAntisemitism

    @GnasherJew
    Apr 21
    More #LabourAntisemitism Retweeted Jack Emsley
    .@Hounslow_Labour could we have an answer? This candidate you are promoting is an antisemite, but, you appear to be doing nothing, despite him comparing “Zionists to Nazis” and saying “Zionists are committing a “holocaust” – both breaches of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.#LabourAntisemitism added,

    Jack Emsley

    @Jack_Emsley1
    Hi @Hounslow_Labour, this is your candidate in Hounslow Central. He claims the media is controlled by a Zionist conspiracy, that the Syria crisis is a false flag created by the Israelis, and conflates Israel-Palestine…
    Show this thread
    9 replies 141 retweets 164 likes
    Reply 9 Retweet 141 Like 164 Direct message

    Roger Glyndwr Lewis

    @RogerGLewis
    More
    Replying to @GnasherJew @BeccyBee03 @Hounslow_Labour
    Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews which may be expressed as hatred
    toward Jews Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed
    toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals &/or their property, toward Jewish
    community institutions and religious facilities

    4:58 PM – 21 Apr 2018

    https://twitter.com/RogerGLewis/status/987707146786824192

    http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2018/04/who-is-gnasherjew-labour-anti-semitism.html

    http://letthemconfectsweeterlies.blogspot.se/2018/04/mrs-may-stalinist-lord-protector.html

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/we-are-not-your-problem/

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-this-is-zionism-as-racism-this-is-israel-at-70-1.5975641

    http://theconquestofdough.weebly.com/the-novel-and-epic-trilogy.html

    Drafts of Chapter 3 and 4 will be up on the Blog Later.

    Zionism is Anti Semitism

  4. stevehayes13 says

    It is not about evidence. So there is no point in arguing with them. The accusations should be simply dismissed as mere name calling. And there should be a vigorous defence of the universal human right to freedom of expression, regardless of who is offended.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Sorry, but your statement is plainly and irrefutably ‘antisemitic’. You require ‘re-training’ in subservience, I’m afraid.

    • Stan Zorin says

      The Jews are right, there should be no freedom of expression. “Universal human right to freedom of expression” means neo-nazism.

  5. JimmyPocket says

    I’d like to clarify the issue of Freemasonry. Not long after Johann Adam Weishaupt founded the order of the Illuminati it was decided that members of the Order should join Freemasonry as a way to spread their ideas and consequently the Rites of Freemasonry began to be altered by the introduction of the oral teachings of Qabbala, which was and is the esoteric aspect of Judaism and which now forms part of Masonic teachings. Items like the Cube altar, RitualMagic, etc., are Qabbalistic . An indication of the Jewish influence in this “brotherhood” are the strong ties between B’nai Brith and Freemasonry. The masonic phrase that “Everything is possible and permissible” is the result of such association. It can also be noted that the New World Order’s main leaders are neocons with a large Zionists contingent made up of a majority of Jews and the Banking elites as well as non-Jews who believe in the project. Mostly, all Freemasons and members of other Secret Societies aligned with them.

  6. A. J. B says

    Just a thought on a detail of this dispiriting saga,
    The mural in the story was repeatedly referred to as being exactly like Nazi anti-semitic
    propaganda. If anyone bothered to familiarise themselves with that really grotesque stuff
    they would see that interpretation was rubbish.
    Anyone familiar with art history would guess that the biggest influence on that work
    was a painting by George Grosz, called The Eclipse of the Sun. Grosz was Hardly a Nazi
    propagandist, but a critic of the corrupt Weimar Republic and capitalism.
    Apart from the figures around the similar square table, it also shows
    the dollar as the object eclipsing the sun. It’s a much more interesting painting than the mural,
    but I’m amazed that the comparison with nazi propaganda, by people hoping
    to blow this up, has been accepted without anyone questioning it.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Good God AJB-‘questioning’ the ‘antisemitism’ industry, in ANY way, is intrinsically ‘antisemitic’. How dare you!

      • A. J. B says

        If people see it as an attack on them, who am I to argue?
        But they shouldn’t use fraudulent evidence to prove an attack was intended…

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          Generally despised minorities are offended when racist, xenophobes and other bigots LIE about them, in order to incite hatred against them, whereas the Zionists are offended, to the point of hysterical outrage, when the TRUTH is spoken of their actions.

  7. BigB says

    This article is symptomatic of the subconscious enabling by reasonable people, of conscious manipulation by unreasonable people. It would be antisemitic to assume that the current coup d’etat is being manufactured: ergo, that must be ruled out a priori. While the reasonable and non-racist majority are put on the self-censoring defensive – in denial of the fact they are being attacked – the unreasonable and racist minority are enabled, and seek to take over the Labour movement under the cover of anti-racism. Encouraged by a complicit media, this is the perfect cover: no one wants to be branded an antisemite, do they?

    http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/more-fake-news-myth-of-increasing-anti.html

    Someone near the top of the party needs to read “The Prince” for advice on statecraft: for this is most certainly a Machiavellian Zionist plot: and yes, it is nu-antisemitic to suggest that …but that is my point. Under the cover of a fabricated antisemitism media-whipped hysteria, the plot leaders (in close co-ordination with the Israeli Embassy) are carrying out a coup to control the Labour movement. The mechanism is to control the Party disciplinary process; make it answerable to an ombudsman set up by the BOD/JLM and JLC; de-platform and scapegoat anyone accused of antisemitism (proven or unproven); extend the “bedrock” of the disciplinary process – the IHRA definition – to include all eleven conflationary “working examples”; disavow all “fringe” anti-Zionist (and therefore, by definition antisemitic) organisations (i.e. Jewdas, Jewish Voice for Labour); make the “unconscious bias” of antisemitism a thought-crime; re-indoctrinate all those who fall into any of the above categories with racial “awareness training”; failing that, suspend or expel them.

    This is the “more” that Labour must do to combat antisemitism: that the Zionists, Israeli lobby, and complicit media led pogrom is pushing toward. If any, or all, of these measures are implemented to combat an antisemitism problem the Labour party does not have: the Labour movement, and the vestigial democracy of the UK will be mechuleh (bust, broke, bankrupt). In place will be two Zionist parties: the Tories and the Labour Party of Israel.

    One more point needs to be made; protectively characterising Jeremy solely as a victim is disingenuous. I see a few references to Tony Greenstein (one of the coup victims) below: but not to reference one of Tony’s key assertions – that weak leadership has enabled this coup. His appeasement extends to backstabbing Christine Shawcroft recently:

    “I understand from close friends of Christine Shawcroft, that her resignation was not an act of selflessness or given willingly. She was directly asked to resign by Jeremy Corbyn personally with the implied threat that if she didn’t resign she would be suspended” [Source: Tony Greenstein’s blog.]

    And also it is weak analysis to characterise the coup as “right wing”. The source of the thought-crime definition of the “new left antisemitism” and “racial awareness training” is a statement put out by the Momentum NCG: which is supposedly the “Trotskyite” left wing.

    https://labourlist.org/2018/04/accusations-of-antisemitism-should-not-be-dismissed-as-right-wing-smears-momentums-full-statement/

    If the left, in defence of Corbyn, go on the backfoot and consciously or subconsciously appease the plotters and manipulators – it will be the end of the movement. There needs to be a reciprocal and non-malevolent targeting of the quislings such as Mann, Austin, Ryan, Smeeth, Ellman, and the recently taken prominence, Luciana Berger (who ‘re-discovered’ the Rothschild mural and re-categorised it antisemitic; even though, as Jonathan Cook pointed out, it was not antisemitic when the Jewish Chronicle wrote about it in 2015) …these people should be subject to “targeted civil eliminations” by deselection, and or suspension. In fact, the very opposite of the strategy of appeasement, ridding the party of anti-Zionist campaigners such as Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Moshe Machover, Ken Livingstone, and Tony Greenstein himself.

    And I chose the phrase “targeted civil eliminations” to highlight my point. The Israeli government can set up a $40mn agency – the Ministry of Strategic Affairs – to conduct “black ops”, to conduct anti-BDS ‘lawfare’, and to attempt to infiltrate both UK parties using agents such as Shai Masot – to take down prominent ministers (“targeted civil eliminations”) [as shown in al-Jazeera’s “The Lobby”] …yet to call for the tables be turned and the perpetrators suspended or dismissed would be deemed nu-antisemitic. I rest my case.

    The reasonable and the anti-racist (charges of racism do not bother actual racists) are no match for the unreasonable and racist. I suggest a rapid and thorough reading of the Prince. In statecraft, nice guys finish last.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Excellent observations. The take-over of Momentum by a coup at the top, rendering all other members irrelevant, and if discomfitted, rendering them ‘antisemites’, is particularly sinister. What does still confound me, however, is the cowardice of it all, as if the people who have toiled for years and decades to rescue Labour from the Blairite scum, have all been mesmerised with fear, and will sit idly by as their work is destroyed by a tiny, but seemingly all powerful, group, driven by intense hatred of, as ‘Jabotinsky said, ‘…anyone who gets in our way’. Just ask the Palestinians or Syrians how this ends.

      • Indeed, it ends in a racist apartheid police state: where a child (Ahed Tamini) can get eight months for slapping a soldier: and a soldier (Elor Azaria) can get eight months for executing an injured civilian – to be released as a national hero …depending on what side of the ethno-religous apartheid “wall” you find yourself.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          Have you ever seen the arch-neocon, Michael Ledeen’s words-‘Listen to his (Machiavelli’s)political philosophy, and you will hear the Jewish music’. But then again, he’s probably an ‘antisemite’. Like everybody else.

  8. milosevic says

    One can only laugh at the assertion that Karl Marx was a “non-practising Jew”, a claim made by generations of fascists and racists. Apparently the author believes in their (and the zionists’) racialist conception of Jewish identity, wherein it is considered to be a genetic attribute which one is born with, like the colour of your skin or the shape of your nose, and which you can never get away from, even if you wanted to. As Marx apparently wanted to, and did.

    Karl Marx — On The Jewish Question

    But of course, it’s this same racialist ideology which enables passages like this —

    It seems to me that there are five propositions on the table, four of which are simply not sustainable. They are: 1) anti-Semitism is rife throughout the Labour Party; 2) the left is innately anti-Semitic; 3) Jeremy Corbyn is complicit in anti-Semitism or at best complaisant in face of its incidence; 4) this controversy has been whipped up now in order to damage Corbyn; 5) charges of anti-Semitism in the party are wholly fabricated.

    Propositions 1) and 5) are mutually exclusive and, I submit, both untrue. The last is foolish and insensitive but needs to be put into focus. Anti-Semitism is never acceptable, any more than any other stance along a continuum from discrimination through irrational fear of difference to prejudice and hatred.

    — to be accepted without anybody ever asking, “What is the content of the Semitism which Anti-Semitism is opposed to?”

    Once one dispenses with the racialist conception of Jewish identity, and begins to consider it as something which people choose to accept for themselves, you can ask questions about what, if any, are the political implications of that choice. And after you ponder that question for a while, you begin to understand why there may actually be such a thing as “left-wing anti-semitism”, and why it may be something quite different from what you have been led to believe.

    I won’t repeat the comments on this site for which I’ve already been labelled “frankly racist” —

    https://off-guardian.org/2018/04/16/the-skripal-case-the-perils-of-a-rush-to-judgment/#comment-114478

    — but unfortunately for supporters of discourses such as the one above, other people are starting to ask similar questions.

    https://thesaker.is/a-crash-course-on-the-true-causes-of-antisemitism/

    https://thesaker.is/how-to-bring-down-the-elephant-in-the-room/

    https://russia-insider.com/en/its-time-drop-jew-taboo/ri22186

  9. Rather surreal to be sure – the notion that one cannot criticize Israel without being labeled anti-Semitic, and perhaps even found to be a felon should one also choose to support the boycott of Israeli goods. Such perspectives and policies are of course not simply Orwellian, but a form of idiocy that should lead any competent person to question the sanity of any who believe such rot. That Western politicians repeat this drivel, and in the U.S. pass legislation criminalizing the BDS movement, proves their complete and utter corruption and unsuitability for public office.

  10. Jen says

    “… But if you want to hear truly ferocious criticism of Netanyahu, go to Israel. Anyone who has travelled in that country knows that Israelis delight in being called the most argumentative people in the world. In a room of ten Israelis, you would expect to find at least thirty conflicting viewpoints. What you never hear is an Israeli accusing another Israeli of being anti-Semitic. Israel has a rather more healthy political culture than we do, despite the fact that they do nothing but kvetch …”

    This is really neither here nor there. Ten Israelis may hold 30 conflicting viewpoints … but on what? Even if they hold conflicting viewpoints on what is to be done about Gaza, if none of those 30 viewpoints question assumptions they may all hold about Gaza – one being that Israel must do something about Gaza without consulting the Palestinians themselves – then to infer that Israelis have a healthy political culture as a result is specious reasoning.

    And if Israelis do nothing but kvetch, that’s not really a very positive reflection on the political culture they do have.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Thirty views, at least fifteen of which are concerning which is the best way to kill Gazan children. Is it high explosive, DIME munitions, cluster bombs, flechettes or white phosphorus?

  11. Fair dinkum says

    Religion.
    Whether it be Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, or the most insidious, Mammon, continues to drive us towards oblivion.
    All in ‘God’s’ name.
    Whatever happened to Love?

    • sszorin says

      Why should there be “Love” ? Is there a law of Nature requiring its existence ? Then why do you pine after “Love” ?

  12. Anandamide says

    Great article…

    Just wish the entire nation had access to it along with the ability to understand it.

    The Truth conquers all… Eventually

  13. Now I’m really F–king angry!
    In the winter of 2013-14, the shock troops who overthrew the elected Government of the Ukraine by attacking the police with petrol bombs, trucks and iron bars and snipers were, Svoboda, the Right Sector and the Azov Battalion (imagine the press outrage if they had done that in the UK). These men, they are mostly men, would parade down the streets of Kiev, a flaming torch held it their left hand, their right arms raised in a Nazi salute shouting “Death to the Jews” (They also shouted “Death to the Russians. Death to the Communists” but I guess these are acceptable!). Did anyone in the major media organisations call them out for their anti-Semitism? No! Nor were they referred to as “Nazis” or even “neo-Nazi”, during the US financed coup they were almost universally called “Ultra Nationalists”.
    After this post I will be known as an anti Semite. Why? Because I confess I don’t buy avocados from Israel. Why? Because I don’t like the way the CURRENT Israeli Government treats the Palestinian people ( GAZA an Inquest into its Martyrdom, Norman Finkelstein) and this is my pathetic 30p per week gesture registering my disapproval; the next Israeli Government may return to the Palestinians their rights, their dignity and the right to self determination (don’t hold your breath), in which case I shall be only too happy to buy Israeli avocados . This makes me part of the Boycott Disinvest Sanction (BDS) movement which almost all media outlets regard as anti-Semitic.
    Then there are the Spaniards who declare, “To help my fellow Spaniards I shall only buy Spanish avocados”. This could be seen as discriminating against Israeli avocados and should (?) therefore be regarded as anti-Semitism. Likewise anyone from Australia, South Africa, Morocco, Peru, Chile and anywhere else that grows the fruit (Is it fruit or vege?) who has a similar opinion.
    There are millions of Chinese who have never bought an Israeli avocado in their lives; what do you think?
    My wife and I have another guilty secret: we sometimes put bacon on a toasted bagel; anti-Semitism?
    I do not take anti-Semitism lightly: my grandparents died in the Holocaust and as a teenager I was beaten to a pulp by Nazis, but to accuse Jeremy Corbyn, who has fought racism, of all kinds throughout his life, of anti-Semitism is beyond a joke and I shall fight the bastards shouting it until they are all out of OUR Labour Party.

    • Francis Lee says

      Yes, real as opposed to manufactured anti-Semitism, has a long history in Eastern Europe, particularly the Ukraine and the Baltics. In 1941 after the German invasion had commenced there was a systematic pogrom against the Jews in the city of Lvov (now Lvov). This was carried out by the German Einsatzgruppe (death squads) and Ukrainian Nationalists. Holocaust Encyclopaedia estimate that the first pogrom cost at least 4,000 lives. The ‘Ukrainian Nationalists’ was to morph into the Ukrainian Militia which received help and support from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist (OUN-B) whose leader was Stepan Bandera. There is a particular photograph – which is frankly so horrific that I think it in bad taste to put up – of a half-dressed Jewish woman running for her life being chased by a cudgel-wielding Banderite mob. The OUN-B’s military wing The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) was set up under the command of Roman Shukhevych, a guerrilla force of approx. 30000 armed partisans who conducted widespread pogroms against Jews, Russian, and Poles in Volyhnia and Galicia in 1943-44, murdering tens of thousands of peasants. (Incidentally, Roman Shukhevych was posthumously conferred the title of Hero of Ukraine by President Viktor Yushchenko on October 12, 2007).

      At the present time the descendants of these war-time Nazis – Right Sector, Svoboda, Patriots of the Ukraine are firmly established as a political and military force in Ukraine and celebrate Bandera’s birthday when legions of Neo-Banderites – some 20000-strong march through Kiev to celebrate their wartime leader. Of course, the western media entirely ignores these events.

      In addition to the UPA there is the Azov Battalion a neo-Nazi military formation which sports swastika armbands and other regalia including the Waffen logo the Wolfsangel. Be in no doubt these are genuine Nazi forces. The Azov Battalion itself is descended from the wartime 14th Waffen SS Grenadier Division which was made up mainly from Ukrainian volunteers but also with Nazi elements from Croatia (Ustachi) Slovenia and Romania. The unit was actually commissioned by Heinrich Himmler. There were SS reunion gatherings in both Ukraine and the Baltics, but the grim reaper meant that there are less and less ‘veterans’ to march in this celebration of fascism. Ahhh, shame.

      Then of course there are the Baltics. Neo-Nazi elements and practices in these states – particularly Latvia and Lithuania – matched and at times exceeded those Ukraine.

      Here’s a reminder.

      Some 220,000 Jews were living in Lithuania when the Germans invaded in June 1941. The day after the German invasion of the Soviet Union and even before the Germans arrived at the major Jewish settlements, murderous riots perpetrated by the Lithuanians broke out against the Jews. At the encouragement of the Germans, the riots continued, and thousands of Jews were murdered.
      The German entrance to Lithuania was accompanied by acts of murder, rape, looting and abuse. Ponar, a forest located 6.2 miles south of Vilna, became a killing ground for tens of thousands of Jews. The victims were led from Vilna and its vicinity to pits, shot by Germans and Lithuanians, and thrown in. Few survived the massacres, and of those, hardly any managed to elude the local population. From July 1941 to 1944, more than 70,000 people, nearly all of them Jews, were murdered at Ponar.
      On August 15, 1941, the Kovno ghetto was sealed, and as per German orders, 20,000 Jews were imprisoned in the poorer section of the Slobodka (Williampola) suburb. The fatal turning point in the lives of the ghetto inmates came on October 28, 1941, when the Germans gathered all the Jews in the ghetto and a brutal selection took place. More than 9,000 residents of the ghetto were lead to the Ninth Fort (one of the forts surrounding the city) and murdered. By the end of 1941 only 40,000 Jews remained in all of Lithuania and they were concentrated in four ghettos – Vilna, Kovno, Siauliai and Swieciany – and in a few labour camps.
      In the summer and autumn of 1943, the Vilna and Swieciany ghettos were liquidated and the ghettos in Kovno and Siauliai were converted to concentration camps. A few months later approximately 1,200 babies, children and elderly inmates were murdered in the Kovno ghetto, and many youngsters were sent from the ghetto to labor camps in Estonia. In July 1944, with Kovno on the brink of liberation by the Soviet army, the ghettos in Kovno and Swieciany were liquidated and many of their inhabitants were sent westwards to camps in areas still under German control, including Stutth of, Dachau, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Approximately 10,000 Lithuanian Jews were still alive when Germany surrendered in May 1945, as well as some 2,000 Jews who had fled to the Soviet Union and survived the war there.

      The World Holocaust Remembrance Centre

      So, the next the witch hunters affix the label of ‘anti-Semite’ to anyone whose politics offends them, they should look who and where – to this day -the real anti-Semites reside. Try Lvov, try Riga, try Vilnius, try Ternipol. Problem is though these people are now our allies (sic), inside and outside of NATO.

      • milosevic says

        real as opposed to manufactured anti-Semitism, has a long history in Eastern Europe, particularly the Ukraine

        When investigating anti-Semitism, it would be informative to also investigate the Semitism which it opposes; how can one understand anti-Xism (for some value of “X”), without having some conception of what Xism entails?

        In this context, the following article is highly illuminating:

        Nicholas Lysson — Holocaust and Holodomor

        It asks the question, if two genocides occur within the span of a decade, in roughly the same geographic area, where the perpetrators of one are the victims of the other, and vice-versa, is it at all reasonable to believe that they have nothing to do with each other?

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          The so-called ‘Holomodor’ is entirely fraudulent, invented by Ukronazis for their Russophobic propaganda. I mean, a mere glance at the phony nomenclature, so conveniently akin to ‘Holocaust’, tells you something of the propagandist impulse behind it.

          • milosevic says

            At the Nuremburg trial, the stalinists tried to blame the nazis for the Katyn Forest Massacre, and claimed that the reverse accusation was simply Russophobic propaganda.

            I suppose you’re content with that Official Story, also.

            You should try reading the article I linked to; one doesn’t need to be a ukronazi to view the stalinist regime as something other than blameless.

            http://desip.igc.org/holo_lysson.html

            also:

            https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999,00.html

            http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/slezkinerev.pdf

            • Mulga Mumblebrain says

              Katyn was a massacre committed by the Stalinists in the USSR. That is irrefutable. That the Holomodor is a fraudulent invention of anti-Soviet, Ukrainian fascists and their allies in the West, is also irrefutable. Your linking of the two is purely propagandistic, not logical or truthful.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        And, despicably, the Zionists and the Israeli regime are actively engaging with similar fascists throughout Europe, in a joint effort to foment and foster Islamophobic hatred. Two groups that no doubt still intrinsically hate each other, but united in hatred of Moslems.
        The most infamous example, so far, was Anders Brievik, a fascist Islamophobe and dedicated supporter of Israel. Before his cowardly child massacre, so obviously facilitated by the Norwegian police ‘incompetence’, the Norwegian Labour Party and its youth group in particular were subjected to filthy abuse by Zionists, including in the US fakestream media sewer, for their support of the Palestinians. Soon the Zionists will make it COMPULSORY to hate Moslems, Arabs and the Palestinians in particular in the same manner as any good Zionist, on pain of absolute social ostracism as an ‘antisemite’ if you refuse.

      • sszorin says

        @ Francis Lee – The serious problem with your comment is that you did not say what happened before the pogroms, in that year 1941. You should try to get educated so that you may know what ‘context’ means when talking about a historical event.

  14. Alan says

    Semites are Arab peoples, and ‘semitic’ is an adjective which alludes to a middle-Eastern group of languages. Does it follow that those accused of anti-semitism are opposed to Arab peoples?
    “An ‘anti-semite’ in actual usage, is less often a man who hates Jews than a man certain Jews hate. The word expresses the emotional explosion that occurs in people who simply can’t bear critical discourse about a sacred topic, and who experience criticism as profanation and blasphemy.”
    Joe Sobran, “In Pursuit of Anti-Semitism,” National Review, March 16, 1992

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      I prefer the definition attributed to an elderly survivor of the Nazi judeocide-”Antisemites’ used to be people who hated the Jews, but today it is people who the Jews hate’. Some Jews, of course, the Jewish community being as diverse as any other, NOT the monolithic block that Zionist liars assert that it is.

    • Does a valid argument make any difference to the penalty that is meted out? Using the term semitic is another way of making the word ‘Jew’, something that cannot be openly said without evoking a sense of dissonance – unless of course you are Jewish.

      The accusation of anti-semitism works both as a power to dictate what cannot be openly discussed, and as the stick to hold over an extremely diverse racial mix of people and unite them in fear of ‘others’ who not only hate them but seek their destruction – JUST because they are Jewish.

      Jewish racism is far more insidious than treating Palestinians as non human.
      But I don’t like the term ‘racist’ because its abuse makes it simply a hate weapon, and so I focus more on the underlying self-specialness in any identity, that presumes to judge, manipulate and dominate ‘others’ as a right and acts from that ‘right’ without justification or apology.
      This is not exclusively Jewish – but is more pertaining to the corruption of power.
      Without keeping anti-semitism ‘alive’ would Jews integrate into their nation-hosts? Would they be less actively supportive of Israel, would they more openly voice criticism Israel in arenas that are controversial?

      The denial of free speech can be nudged in all manner of ways – but one of which is that truths which give ammunition to ‘enemies’ are traitorous to reveal. The cultivation of ‘enemies’ is necessary to provide justification for the ongoing transfer of power from people and public institutions, to those who pull the strings behind the scenes.

      It might be true to say Jews have a disproportionate percentage of very high achievers, perhaps as a result of marrying the clever young man to the daughter of wealth over two thousand years or so. Insofar as there is a self identity, there is also self interest. But self interest blind to the same in others is no less blind to itself – because it cannot allow introspection and so is denied freedom of communication by its own alignment in ‘power’.

      I may add that an extreme case is easy to see, but what we then see is also true in us all, in different forms or degrees. Perhaps not everyone has prejudice relating to fear of otherness, historical enmities, or self-insecurity seeking scapegoat by which to seem powerful. Perhaps not everyone seeks to use guilt as a weapon or uses grievance as a means to attract sympathy in justification and support of vengeance. But I haven’t met them yet.

      You are not supposed to hate – but there IS unhealed hatred in our hearts, and hurt beneath it, and a sense of betrayal, rejection, shame and abandonment beneath that. Where does the sense of divine right to demand the life or world that was NOT given or supported come from? Is it the a-tempt to create as an expression of a private personal will? The self-blinding in self-image?

      I see humanity as an entanglement in power loss (struggle), and yet I also feel humanity behind the mask.
      Submission of individual responsibility to group-think seems protective and collective power works in ways that individuals cannot. But the ‘shepherds’ of the people become identified in power and protect it instead of the people under the belief that they are the ‘nation’ or speak for ‘the people’ – while employing the protections and privilege of high office for personal agenda. There is nothing new under the Sun in terms of themes being replayed. Unless of course the old script is released for a new one.

      As for the smearing of Corbyn, it doesn’t deserve engaging with, but I believe the arrogant overuse of power by deceit renders it much more visible. Perhaps ‘power’ cares not who knows what – because no one can DO anything about it. Is that true? Or is that how pride comes before a fall?

      “Everything is BACKWARDS; everything is upside down! Doctors destroy health, Lawyers destroy justice, Universities destroy knowledge, Governments destroy freedom, Major media destroys information, And religions destroy spirituality”. Michael Ellner

      • Fair dinkum says

        ‘Everything is BACKWARDS _ _ _’
        Because we have been possessed by the things we own.

      • Anam anon says

        Why is this argument still happening? Are they STILL trying to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn? It appears any criticism of Israel at all is being closed down again and again.

  15. archie1954 says

    Mr. Corbyn is not Anti-Semitic. He is simply anti Zionist. Zionism is a secular political ideology. He has every right to oppose it due to its negative effect on world peace.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      There’s the rub. The Zionist elite are ferociously driving, using their unrivaled money power and influence, to ban all criticism of Zionism and Israel, even CRIMINALISE it, under the false assertion that it represents ‘antisemitism’. It is exactly akin to the old South African apartheid regime (Israel’s close ally and friend) attempting to ban and criminalise criticism of apartheid as ‘antiafrikaanerism’.

      • milosevic says

        What proportion of self-identified “Jews” would have to agree with the proposition that “anti-zionism = anti-semitism” before one would have to concede the point, on the grounds that it’s for them to decide the content of their own identity?

        And whatever one believes that threshold should be, does it appear that in the real world, the actual proportion is more than, or less than that?

        Why can these questions never even be formulated, much less seriously asked?

        • Mark Sharkey says

          It can’t be up to perpetrators to decide what constitutes oppression. A Hindu majority may have decided Muslims are inferior beings in India or Buddhists do the same in Myanmar or Jews in Palestine.
          It doesn’t make it true.

          • milosevic says

            To continue with your analogy, if it turned out that 95% of self-identified “Hindus” considered the essential inferiority of Moslems to be an essential component of their own Hindu identity, should one —

            a) ignore this cultural fact, or go around denying it?

            or

            b) accept it as an unfortunate reality, and formulate your own political attitude towards self-identified “Hindus” accordingly, as one would towards self-identified “Nazis”?

            Of course, in this (semi?) hypothetical situation, when one encountered a clearly non-racist “Hindu”, one would say to them, “Why do you, a reasonable, decent person, wish to associate yourself with this overtly racist, fascist ideology?” Perhaps they hadn’t thought about the issue in detail, or maybe nobody had ever suggested to them that they COULD just leave the right-wing cult that they had unfortunately been born into.

            http://desip.igc.org/holo_lysson.html

            • Mulga Mumblebrain says

              The attitude of many Jews, particularly the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox, to the goyim, and even to non-Orthodox Jews, is akin to the attitude of many Hindu Brahmins under the caste system. That is, one of unbridled supremacist disdain, at best. Which no doubt is why the BJP regime of Modi, under its Hindutva ideology, a product of Brahmin supremacism, has become so very close to Israel, and is gradually dumping India’s long support for the Palestinians, that goes back to the position of Gandhi. And Israel’s unrivaled expertise at keeping a restive Moslem population under the cosh has been very useful to the Indian regime in suppressing, with remarkable brutality, the Kashmiris.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says

          Garbage. It could be 100%, but it would make NO difference to the right of moral conscience of others. And, in any case, the percentage of Jews who believe that anti-Zionism is ‘antisemitism’ is far less than 100%. What other groups do you propose have a veto on the moral conscience of others, complete with legal penalties inflicted by compliant regimes? Should the Palestinians, say, have that right, and see ‘anti-Palestinian’ hate speech criminalised?

  16. Harry Law says

    Israeli Labour Party leader Avi Gabbay and sister party to the UK Labour party also supported by the Jewish Labour Movement [JLM] within the UK Labour party called the settlement enterprise “the beautiful and devoted face of Zionism” and said Israel must retain control over the Jordan Valley. The JLM have been calling for zero tolerance in the Labour Party for anti-Semitism, but they themselves support grave war crimes. The settlement enterprise is classed as a grave war crime in Article 49.6 of the Geneva Conventions and in the ICC act UK, 2003. The World court [ICJ] gave its opinion in the ‘Wall Case’ in 2003 when all 15 Judges said ALL the Israeli settlements were contrary to the Geneva Conventions.
    Gabbay declared that God promised the Jews the entire land between the sea and the Jordan. That is not quite correct: God promised us all the land from the Euphrates to the River of Egypt. God never made good on that promise.

    Gabbay declared that in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians, not a single Jewish settlement in the West Bank would be evacuated.

    Several years ago the Bil’in village took the Canadian company Green Park International to court in Canada, here is part of the prosecution case…

    “Under international law, it so happens that a breach of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention is classified as a war crime. The term “war crime” has no clear, universally accepted definition, but essentially war crimes are those violations of the laws of war so grave that they have been specially designated by the international community as an extraordinary class of offence whose reprehensible nature would “shock the conscience of all right-thinking people” (to use the words of Cory J. in R. v. Finta, [1994] 1 S.C.R. 701). Laws against war crimes are generally aimed at atrocities against civilians, prisoners of war, and other non-combatants.

    A war crime, to put it succinctly, is a very serious matter. Further, it is easy to see why the offence in question falls into this special category. Article 49(6) is essentially a law to prevent colonialism. One need look no further than the current condition of the indigenous peoples whose domain once spanned the entire expansive breadth of this continent to appreciate the gravity of the consequences territorial dispossession can inflict upon a population. Most war crimes deal with offences against individuals or groups of individuals, but the offence in Article 49(6) is one that threatens the integrity of an entire people. It clearly qualifies as an exceptional offence of higher order that is of grave concern to the global community as a whole”.
    Should the Jewish Labour Movement [JLM] be expelled from the UK Labour Party because they support grave war crimes?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Of course they should, but a duplicitous double-standard,, where Israel is granted total immunity from all International Law, a stance rooted directly in Judaic supremacism, is enforced by US veto at the UNSC and bullying throughout International organs, and is being made COMPULSORY by the ‘antisemitism’ industry’s drive to make ALL criticism of Israel, and of the behaviour of any Jew, anywhere, no matter how universally that behaviour (eg mass child murder in Gaza)would be condemned if committed by a goy, illegal and punishable by law. And this includes all support for the Palestinians, the BDS movement, and as one Zionist grandee noted in the UK, ‘Leftwing policies’. Freedom of Opinion and Action is being DESTROYED by the Zionist elite, throughout the West.

  17. Puerile Idiot says

    This whole argument (if it is worthy of the word) is based on a conflation of ‘criticism of Israel’ and ‘disparagement of the Jewry’ and as such is a specious concoction – being administered for political advantage by deep state actors here in the UK. If they could blame Corbyn for a chemical attack, they would – in the meantime they carry on firing tear gas in the faces of those who protest in a non-violent manner. Maybe somebody should take some samples of the tear gas being used and send it to the OPCW for analysis. Netanyahu is overdue a visit to the ICC, as is Blair. Those attempting to undermine Mr Corbyn should not be speaking in Parliament as they do not represent the Labour Party

    • FobosDeos says

      I agree completely with your comment, and it amazes me that the author of the article seems to have failed to point to this distinction as a unavoidable premise for discussing the ridiculous label againts Corbyn. Is Roger Waters an anti-semite for standing up against zionism? Are Norman Finkelstein and Ilan Pappé anti-semite Jews? Was Marlene Dietrich an anti-German or a Germanophobe because she loathed nazism? (many Germans thought so and never forgave her for that).

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      The Zionists’ definition of ‘antisemitism’ includes all criticism of any Jew. Blanket hatred, disdain or even love and admiration for all Jews, simply because they are Jews, is stupid, and in the case of hatred, wicked. Just as is Islamophobic hatred, that so many Zionists manifest, violently, all the time. The ‘antisemitism’ smear in this case has been ALMOST entirely invented, and openly asserts that ANY criticism of ANY Jew must be motivated by hatred and bigotry. It almost explicitly, therefore, asserts that all Jews are, uniquely, incapable of doing ill, or even of making mistakes that might disconcert or anger others. It is quite insane, but cowards like Corbyn cower before it. Meanwhile the Palestinians linger in a living Hell, that, apparently, they deserve for being ‘antisemites’.

    • milosevic says

      This whole argument (if it is worthy of the word) is based on a conflation of ‘criticism of Israel’ and ‘disparagement of the Jewry’ and as such is a specious concoction

      If it turns out that a very large proportion (for some value of “very large”) of “the Jewry” actually believe that criticism of Israel constitutes disparagement of themselves, is it still a specious concoction?

      Or should you accept that people are the definitive authority on the content of their own identity, and then consider what should be your attitude towards that identity, as they have defined it?

      It makes very little sense to reject people’s own account of their identity, because you find it offensive, and substitute some conception that you prefer, and then base your attitude towards them on that. To do so is to engage in the elaboration of faery tales, rather than real-world politics.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        Of course it is a specious concoction. What right does anyone have to determine the moral conscious of another, PARTICULARLY in this case where such presumption demands that one turn a blind eye to vicious and unceasing crimes against humanity and against moral decency? You might as well argue against condemnation of the Nazis, because they had a ‘conception’ of themselves that found criticism of their actions ‘anti-Germanic’. This is one of the more odious inventions I’ve seen yet to justify Zionist brutality-it, of course, as all this particular invented ‘antisemitism’ garbage does, places the Zionists above International Law and moral sanity, simply by self-assertion of that position.

        • milosevic says

          You might as well argue against condemnation of the Nazis, because they had a ‘conception’ of themselves that found criticism of their actions ‘anti-Germanic’.

          That is exactly the sort of analogy that I was suggesting, with exactly the opposite conclusion from what you are suggesting.

          from another of your comments:

          The attitude of many Jews, particularly the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox, to the goyim, and even to non-Orthodox Jews, is akin to the attitude of many Hindu Brahmins under the caste system. That is, one of unbridled supremacist disdain, at best.

          That sounds strangely like “disparagement of the Jewry”. quoting myself:

          should you accept that people are the definitive authority on the content of their own identity, and then consider what should be your attitude towards that identity, as they have defined it?

          • Mulga Mumblebrain says

            Your assertion that a group may so define their ‘identity’ that, in this case, of the Zionist Jews, that ‘identity’ includes murderous attacks on defenceless Gazans, mass child murder in Gaza, endless repression and imprisonment of the Palestinians, accompanied by humiliation, unpunished murder, house destruction, land theft and relentless vilification throughout the West, seems to me to be viciously ‘antisemitic’, in that you imply that Zionist Jews all exhibit and/or approve of these vile and barbaric practises. NO group, no matter whether they think of themselves as ‘Gods Upon the Earth’ have the right to determine the moral conscience and outrage of others and punish those others for that moral conscience, when they are committing crimes against humanity and morality.

            • Try not to rapid post so much in quick succession. Our software might start to identify your comments as spam. Slow down and space out a little.

  18. bevin says

    Good article.
    But very frustrating to be constantly reminded of the failure of the NEC and the Constituency parties to take the initiative in sanctioning those MPs whose treachery- for that is what it is- keeps this nonsense going.
    It is impossible to imagine MPs being allowed to treat anyone not of the ‘left’ in this manner.
    Nor is this just a matter of Jeremy and his friends bravely turning the other cheek, every time that Phillips or Mann, Streeting or Berger is allowed to get away with such behaviour Corbyn’s refusal to take offence is interpreted as a reflection of guilt on his part.
    I cannot imagine the nature of CLPs whose members blithely acquiesce in their MPs’ slanders and sabotage, unless they welcome the charge of being leaders in an anti-semitic organisation.
    I recommend Tony Greenstein’s blog today as a source of further information.
    Re selection must start soon. There is no reason to wait before withdrawing the Whip from offenders as they commit their offences.

    • Harry Law says

      Good link bevin, here is a part of Greensteins blog.
      “The Zionist MP for Liverpool Wavertree, Lucian Berger in her speech about ‘anti-Semitism’ called for the expulsion of Ken Livingstone, who more than any other single individual pioneered anti-racism in local government. What is his crime? To mention the fact that during the 1930’s the Zionist movement collaborated and worked with the Nazis. This is a verifiable historical fact as Zionist historians, from David Cesarani to Lucy Dawidowicz and Hannah Arendt testified. Anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews. Livingstone has never uttered an anti-Semitic phrase in his life. Livingstone is hated for his support of Palestine not because of anti-Semitism”.
      The Labour Party should be pulled over the coals for its long drawn out disciplinary procedures. Ken Livingtone has been suspended for 2 years, this character assassination campaign in the Labour party and MSM claiming that he is an Anti-semite with all the opprobrium that goes with it, that in itself is disgraceful, Livingstone should go to court to clear his name.

      • PeaceCora says

        I am not an expet on this subject at all. I have read the comments made by Ken Livingstone, quite a few times and each time I have failed to see why they are considered anti-semitic. To me he seems to be merely stating facts and explaining how extreme anti-semitism can be. Am I just being naive or ignorant I wonder?

  19. Paul says

    You only have to watch Parliament to see how the issue is being used by Tories. Today we had several congratulating the speakers yesterday – including IDS! The virulence of the Labour complainers is quite astonishing and yet after several weeks of daily headlines I have yet to see any concrete examples of antisemitism from Labour members. In short I don’t believe it and think it is a campaign to get rid of Corbyn because he is sympathetic to Palestine. The Tories join in for obvious reasons.

    • PeaceCora says

      These people have no place in the labour party anymore. It is one thing to disagree with the leadrship of your onw party; it is absolutely another, to take part in a vendetta and join forces with an odious opposition party that they should be holding to account over their vile policies and incompetence. They have crosses the line and should just cross the floor and have done with it.

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